Niki D'Andrea, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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No one could have predicted everything that happened in 2020. Projections for 2021 might be moot, too, but in the anything-can-happen spirit of last year, here are some tongue-in-cheek visions for the Valley’s music future. The clandestine desert-rave wave of the 1990s returns. With nightclubs closed amidst the coronavirus crisis, Phoenicians will once again venture into the desert for secret dance parties driven by DJs with generators and illuminated by glow sticks. Doot-doot. Arizona Hip...

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Vogue called it a full display of “indigenous beauty and skill.” Atlas Obscura deemed it a “unique competition.” Many Phoenicians know it as “that big thing that happens at Heard Museum every year.” It’s the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest – and for the first time in its 30-year history, the entire event will be online only. The competition, which combines athleticism, artistry and tradition, features more than a hundred hoop dancers in several age...

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We might be stuck inside, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get outside our heads. This week, we can journey into cyberspace to learn about historic building preservation and discuss a sci-fi plot and even get outside to bang a drum in a big, socially distanced circle. Taliesin Talks: Preserving for a Modern World Why does saving old buildings still matter? Preservationists discuss the importance of historical structures, how to balance the desire for conservation...

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The New Year brings new hope for a less socially distanced cultural landscape as coronavirus vaccines roll out, but 2021 is still fresh and full of precautions. For those still playing it as safe as possible, here are two virtual events and one socially distanced event for indulging in Valley culture and history. SHFT: PLAYBACK On January 6 (and every Wednesday), Tempe Center for the Arts’ Facebook page is alive with the sounds of music. The...

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Going out and gathering with the masses to ring in the New Year is not a smart or safe option for the 2020-2021 transition. But there are plenty of ways to virtually say goodbye to this longest of years and welcome the next (hopefully better) year.     Arizona History Happy Hour  Arizona’s “hip historian” Marshall Shore will host a happy hour live from the Arizona Heritage Center at Papago Park from 7 to 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Shore will take guests on...

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Gift-giving this year, like everything else in 2020, looks a little different than ever before. Instead of exchanging gifts hand to hand or gathering around the Christmas tree to unwrap presents, many people will be mailing packages and meeting in Zoom rooms. A virtual experience is another option, as local businesses offer virtual animal encounters, exercise sessions and workshops. Here are just a few. Nicole Anne Yoga and Animal Reiki Give the gift of a...

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Sticky floors. Body odor. Buzzing eardrums. We miss live music. Luckily, local venues have resumed booking shows for next year – even if owners aren’t sure yet what safety protocols might need to be put in place (most plan to post safety measures online closer to reopening). However it looks, we’ll be hitting up these venues ASAP. Crescent Ballroom This former garage in Central Phoenix will host live shows again on January 25, with a...

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Got dinner plans on Saturday, December 12? You could cook a classic meal with North Italia chef Chris Curtiss from the comfort of your own home for a good cause. During the livestream cooking class, Curtiss will show participants how to prepare a Negroni and charcuterie board, followed by a main course of herb-crusted beef tenderloin with roasted Brussels sprouts, Cambozola polenta and an aged balsamic roasted pear crumble with vanilla mascarpone. Curtiss will send...

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“Walking through a winter wonderland” might be weird this year with everyone wearing masks and staying six feet apart. But driving through a winter wonderland can feel pretty festive. Here is a trio of holiday light shows to illuminate your nights. Holiday Lights at Salt River Fields Expect to spend about 20 minutes slowly cruising the 1.2-mile route at Holiday Lights at Salt River Fields while jamming to holiday tunes on an FM station. The...

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This holiday season, TheaterWorks wants you to walk through a winter wonderland – literally. The Peoria-based performing arts group’s production of A Curiouser Nutcracker takes place in various rooms and spaces audience members meander through, encountering characters and solving puzzles all along the way. A Curiouser Nutcracker combines the Christmas classic The Nutcracker and the fantastical Alice in Wonderland: The Mouse King has taken over Wonderland, cursing it to a perpetual winter. Together, the White...

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The 2020 Socially Distanced Holiday Market on Grand Avenue has everything one could want this season: locally made soaps, jewelry, pet products, ornaments, stationary, yoga accessories… and masks, hand sanitizer, limited admission and people staying 6 feet away from each other. The organizers of the event, local business owners Nancy Hill of printing press Hazel & Violet and Kate Benjamin of cat-centric company Hauspanther, brainstormed all the ways they could make the experience as safe...

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As Thanksgiving approaches, a lot of people are thinking about food. Others are writing songs and singing about it. Here are four audible edible tributes by local bands to whet your appetite for seasonal gluttony. Authority Zero – “Chile con Crudo” This instrumental song’s title roughly translates to “pepper with raw fish,” which sounds like a gross meal, but makes a mean metaphor. Authority Zero’s punk sensibility lends the sonic spice, while the surf twang...

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